Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion Friday to have 60 temporary shelter beds delivered to Echo Park Lake by early spring and to provide storage facilities and other assistance to the park’s homeless population.
“This crisis is a call to action for all Angelenos,” O’Farrell said. “As we address this urgent priority to find safe, temporary shelter and permanent housing, we are expanding on some immediate solutions in the Echo Park Lake area. I look forward to our continued collaboration on short-term and long-term solutions to help people get back on their feet and live healthy, fulfilling lives.”
O’Farrell’s motion to address the situation at Echo Park Lake consists of conducting a day on which to connect homeless people to service providers, weekly scheduled maintenance of the area, staffing restroom facilities on the park’s north side at all hours, providing a mobile hygiene unit with showers four days a week, funding a safe storage unit nearby, continuing education and outreach of park rules to all users, and activating a 60-bed interim emergency shelter in the area.
It also seeks ways to get more homeless people entered into the county’s Coordinated Entry System.
The costs of these actions could be covered by city general funds and emergency homeless funds. The shelter would be operated for up to a year and use beds that are available from other nearby temporary shelters. It could be available at least eight weeks at St. Paul’s Commons Church, according to the motion.
The motion will be placed on the next posted City Council agenda, which could be as early as Tuesday.
O’Farrell filed a motion in February seeking emergency shelter options on public or private property for homeless people in Echo Park, who have been vocal about their predicament.
Since late January, a group of homeless people has been asking O’Farrell to find a way to let them stay at Echo Park Lake overnight as long as they promise to keep the park clean and not be a nuisance to visitors.
During a cleanup in January at the encampment at the northwest section of Echo Park Lake, homeless people and advocacy groups confronted park rangers and crew members, with members of advocacy groups on hand for support. An altercation between park rangers and homeless people at Echo Park Lake was shared on social media in late February.
No one has been evicted from the park, but city officials have said maintenance at the encampment is necessary.
Homeless advocates protested O’Farrell’s field office in February, when another scheduled cleanup was undertaken, by setting up tents just outside the office doors.
O’Farrell has already moved to dedicate more than $560,000 to fund six months of “emergency measures” regarding hygiene needs of the homeless at Echo Park Lake, which is located in his council district.
A safe parking site has been established for people to sleep in their cars overnight at Edendale Branch Library, a few blocks from Echo Park Lake.
According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, O’Farrell’s Council District 13, which includes Echo Park, portions of Hollywood and Silver Lake, had more than 2,400 unsheltered homeless people in 2019.